Vive Le Canada

Softwood shouldn't be a political issue, says State Department spokesman
Date: Wednesday, November 23 2005

Softwood shouldn't be a political issue, says State Department spokesman

Canadian Press

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

WASHINGTON (CP) - Canada's attempts to turn up the political heat in the softwood lumber dispute aren't having much effect south of the border.

"Making it a political issue is not, in our view, where it belongs," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told a briefing Monday. "We view this issue as a trade dispute and it needs to be resolved as a trade dispute."

Prime Minister Paul Martin lectured President George W. Bush about softwood last week at a summit in South Korea, telling him that American protectionism is a threat to global trade.

In a visit to Ottawa last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned that heightened rhetoric could harm Canada-U.S. relations and reiterated a demand that Canada return to the negotiating table.

Canada cut off talks in the summer when U.S. officials refused to abide by a final NAFTA panel ruling that supported virtually eliminating American penalties on Canadian softwood imports.

The U.S. Commerce Department is scheduled to respond to the ruling Wednesday.

American officials point to rulings from the World Trade Organization that endorse their view that Canadian lumber is illegally subsidized and dumped on the U.S. market.

"There have been a number of rulings on this issue," said Ereli. "We feel that those rulings need to be respected."

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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